Chef Gordon Ramsay has lost a High Court battle over being held personally liable for the rent on the York & Albany pub in London.
The deal for the pub took place when Ramsay was working with his father-in-law and former chief executive of Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH), Chris Hutcheson.
Ramsay claimed a ghost-writing machine used to sign autographs must have been used to sign documents making him the personal guarantor for the £640,000-a-year rent on the pub.
But the BBC reported that High Court judge Mr Justice Morgan, sitting in London, refused to grant a declaration that the rental guarantee was not binding because Mr Ramsay's signature "was not lawfully authorised" when the 25-year lease was signed in 2007.
The judge said: "I find that when Mr Hutcheson committed Mr Ramsay to the guarantee in the lease of the premises, Mr Hutcheson was acting within the wide general authority conferred on him by Mr Ramsay at all times until Mr Hutcheson's dismissal in October 2010."